Min Zife was the President of the United Federation of Planets during the Dominion War and its immediate aftermath. The Zife Administration presided over one of the most tumultuous eras in Federation history, and was eventually undone by its pragmatic realpolitik policies. (TNG novel: A Time to Kill, TNG novel: A Time to Heal)
A Federation Councillor from Bolarus, the middle-aged Zife ran for president in 2372 against incumbent Jaresh-Inyo of Grazer, and fellow challenger Rel Obertag of Betazed. Jaresh-Inyo had been weakened politically by numerous foreign policy crises, the declaration of martial law on Earth, and an attempted coup on the part of Starfleet Admiral James Leyton. Zife ran on a platform of increased military readiness in preparation for the coming war against the Dominion, aided by his close advisor, Koll Azernal of Zakdorn. In the election, Jaresh-Inyo earned the smallest percentage of votes ever by an incumbent president, and Zife won the majority. (TNG novel: A Time to Kill; TNG - Slings and Arrows eBook: Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment)
Upon taking office, Zife made Koll Azernal his chief of staff. (TNG novel: A Time to Kill) One of the first decisions Zife made upon winning the office was to have his office moved from the small Ra-ghoratreii Room, which had been used by President Amitra and Jaresh-Inyo, back to the larger Presidential Office on Floor Fifteen of the Palais de la Concorde. (ST novel: Articles of the Federation)
One of the first initiatives of Zife's first term was to attempt rapprochement with the Klingon Empire, who had pulled out of the Khitomer Accords in 2372. Zife had Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-E called to the Palais, where Azernal personally directed him and Captain Benjamin Sisko to attempt to initiate a dialogue with Chancellor Gowron. This effort, however, was ultimately unsuccessful. (TNG - Slings and Arrows eBook: Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment)
In 2373, there was a second attempted Borg invasion of the Federation. The Battle of Sector 001 was a four-day running battle, beginning in the Typhon sector and stretching all across Federation space until it ended in orbit of Earth itself. That battle also saw an unsuccessful temporal incursion on the part of the Borg Collective, which was attempting to alter history to prevent first contact between Earth and Vulcan. (TNG movie: Star Trek: First Contact)
Shortly following this setback in fleet operations, an astropolitical bombshell was dropped when the Cardassian Union allowed itself to be annexed by the Dominion, giving the Founders a military foothold in the Alpha Quadrant. With this union, the Dominion destroyed the Maquis and ended Klingon incursions into Cardassian space, while moving hundreds of warships and millions of troops to Cardassia. This finally prompted the re-alliance of the Federation and the Klingon Empire, as well as the authorization of Captain Sisko's plan to mine the Bajoran wormhole in December of that year, leading to the official start of the Dominion War. (DS9 episodes: "By Inferno's Light", "Call to Arms")
Deal with KinchawnEdit
Unbeknownst to the quadrant at large, however, Azernal and Zife had worked out in early 2373 a desperate retreat strategy for the coming war: Zife's Secretary of Military Intelligence, Nelino Quafina, hired the Orion Syndicate to transport Federation nadion-pulse cannons to the independent world of Tezwa, near the Klingon border. Under the plan, a retreating Allied force would draw Dominion forces to Tezwa, where the nadion pulse cannons would be capable of obliterating most of the enemy fleet. The Zife Administration's decision to covertly place the weapons on Tezwa, however, constituted a violation of the Khitomer Accords, to which the Federation had remained signatories even as the Klingon Empire continued to regard itself as being unallied with the Federation. The plan never became necessary, but Zife's deal with Tezwan Prime Minister Kinchawn would later come back to haunt the Zife Administration. (TNG novel: A Time to Kill)
The Dominion WarEdit
2374 saw the early stages of the war with the Dominion go badly. Dominion forces were able to occupy much of Federation space near the Cardassian border, while Starbase Deep Space 9 had been captured and occupied, with the minefield threatening to be dismantled. The Zife Administration eventually authorized Operation Return, a daring plan on Sisko's part to attack and re-capture DS9 that eventually succeeded. However, several months later, Betazed and Benzar both fell to the Dominion, while Starfleet continued to experience a manpower shortage. Only the entry of the Romulan Star Empire into the war saved the Federation; as a result of the Star Empire's entry, the Zife Administration had the opportunity to formally ally the Federation with both the Romulan Star Empire and the Klingon Empire, a historic first. 2374 also saw the mysterious death of domestic peace activist Tomas Roeder. (DS9 episode: "A Time to Stand", DS9 episodes: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels", "In the Pale Moonlight", DS9 novel: Hollow Men)
In December of 2374, Zife and his Allied counterparts, Chancellor Gowron of Qo'noS and Praetor Neral of Romulus, authorized an assault on Dominion-held Cardassian territory. The First Battle of Chin'toka was a major Allied success, energizing the Allied morale. Throughout 2375, the Allies were able to build up sufficient manpower and infrastructure to drive the Dominion out of Federation space; the Romulans captured Benzar, while a Federation task force was able to liberate Betazed. When the Breen Confederacy entered the Dominion and attacked Earth, Zife gave an impromptu press conference in the Palais, remarking that the Breen's subsequent statement restricting diplomatic relations with the UFP and entering the Dominion was "a very loud, aggressive threat to the Federation and interstellar peace." President Zife later toured the battle-ravaged city of San Francisco with the Prime Minister of United Earth and the President of the United States. Zife and his counterparts later authorized the final invasion of Dominion-held Cardassian space once the Breen energy-dampening weapon was countered, leading to the Battle of Cardassia, wherein the Cardassian Central Command shifted loyalties to the Allies and achieved victory over the Dominion. The Dominion War formally ended in December of 2375 at a ceremony aboard Deep Space 9, unattended by Zife but presided over by the Klingon Chancellor, a Romulan senator, and Starfleet Admiral William Ross. (DS9 episodes: "Tears of the Prophets", "The Changing Face of Evil", "The Dogs of War", "What You Leave Behind"; TNG - Tales of the Dominion War short story: "Eleven Hours Out")
Towards the war's end, President Zife authorized a covert Federation Starfleet operation to steal a captured Breen warship from the planet Kropasar while making false overtures for Federation membership to that world. The operation was successful, but when it became apparent that the Federation had no intention of inducting Krospar, the planet's pre-existing political tensions boiled over into civil war and governmental collapse. (SCE eBook: The Future Begins)
That year, Zife also presided over a session of the Council of the United Federation of Planets that banned sharing the cure for a morphogenic virus that threatened to drive the Founders into extinction with the Dominion. Starfleet Admiral Matthew Dougherty also claimed that a similar session of the Council had authorized the forced re-location of the Ba'ku from their homeworld, a mission later determined to have been initiated by the covert conspiracy known as Section 31. (DS9 episode: "The Dogs of War"; TNG movie: Star Trek: Insurrection; TNG - Section 31 novel: Rogue)
Post-War Crises, 2376Edit
Things did not get much better for the Zife Administration upon the war's end. As the Federation and the Allies occupied and rebuilt the Cardassian Union, several major crises began. The Gateways Crisis of May, 2376, saw a huge disruption in military and civilian space traffic when a group of Petraw attempted to sell the rights to the use of ancient Iconian gateway technology to the highest bidder, leading to the threat of groups like the Orion Syndicate gaining control of the technology before Starfleet was able to shut the gateways down. (ST novel: Gateways)
Shortly before the Gateways crisis, in April, President Zife signed off on a petition to provide relief and humanitarian aid to the planet Kropasar, whose infrastructure had fallen apart in the last days of the Dominion War, that was brought to the Federation Council twice in as many weeks by Starfleet Corps of Engineers liaison Montgomery Scott. (SCE eBook: The Future Begins)
After Elias Vaughn and the crew of the USS Defiant made first contact with the Vahni Vahltupali, President Zife pursuaded the Federation Council to bar all contact with the Vahni. (ST - Typhon Pact novel: Plagues of Night)
The Parasite crisis and the collapse of the Trill GovernmentEdit
In late August of 2376, the First Minister of the Republic of Bajor was assassinated at Bajor's entry ceremony into the Federation by a member of the Federation delegation from Trill; it was then discovered that the Parasites, an alien species that had temporarily seized control of Starfleet Headquarters in 2364, had returned, controlling a great many on Bajor, including First Minister Shakaar Edon. Starfleet launched a major initiative to locate the mother Parasite on Bajor, whom they eventually located in Ashalla, the capital; in the course of the operation, however, it was discovered that the Parasites were a variant species of Trill symbionts. (DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Cathedral)
Following the resolution of the immediate crisis and the formal entry of Bajor into the Federation on 29 September 2376, President Zife presided over a session of the Federation Security Council on 4 October, wherein it was determined that the relationship between the Symbionts and the Parasites would be kept from the public in the course of an investigation into the Trill government's initial decision to unilaterally act against the Parasites. On Oct. 11 during the investigation, however, a Trill terrorist group known as the Neo-Purists detonated electromagnetic pulse bombs across the planetary surface that killed off a great many joined Symbionts, including much of the Trill Senate; the next day, the President of Trill ordered a moratorium on all future joinings, as nearly 90% of the Symbionts had died in the attacks. The Trill President also released information about the Parasites' origins as genetically engineered alterations of the Symbionts and the subsequent Trill coverup. (DS9 novel: Unity; DS9 - Worlds of Deep Space Nine novel: Trill: Unjoined)
November saw the public release of information about the Andorian genetic crisis, a situation stemming from the four-sexed reproductive paradigm of that species, following the kidnapping of Federation Councillor Charivretha zh'Thane. Zife, however, never initiated Federation government support for research into a solution to the problem, and never once visited Andor. Zife's reaction to the Gateways and Parasite/Trill crisis did not inspire a great deal of confidence on the Federation electorate, but, he was nonetheless elected to a second term of office in 2376. (DS9 - Worlds of Deep Space Nine novel: Andor: Paradigm; ST novel: Articles of the Federation)
2377 saw the outbreak of the Watraii-Romulan crisis; following the Trill government's collapse and the continued stresses of recovery from the war, President Zife determined that the Federation would remain neutral in that conflict. Following the Watraii affair, the Romulans severed their official alliance with the Federation, once again becoming hostile. (ST - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus)
2377 also saw the revelation that the Selelvians had been using their telepathic abilities to manipulate the minds of the Federation Council to serve their interests; following this revelation, the Federation revoked Selelvia's Membership. The Selelvians allied themselves with the Tholian Assembly, leading to a brief war between the UFP and the Selelvian/Tholian alliance. (NF novels: Stone and Anvil, After the Fall; TNG novel: A Time for War, A Time for Peace)
In 2378, an incident at the Rashanar Battle Site, wherein the USS Enterprise inadvertently destroyed an Ontailian ship, nearly led to Ontail leaving the Federation. A last-ditch deal was made with the blessing of the Zife Administration to have blame unjustly cast upon Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard to prevent a fracturing of the Federation Council. (TNG novels: A Time to Be Born, A Time to Die, A Time to Kill)
Throughout this period, the Federation struggled with a secessionist movement that was prompted by the economic crisis of war recovery, as many worlds resented being forced to contribute resources to worlds devastated during the Dominion War even as those selfsame worlds felt ignored by the Federation. (TNG novel: A Time to Kill)
In August of 2379, Prime Minister Kinchawn, who had achieved a partisan monopoly in the Tezwan government, claimed sovereignty over the Klingon colony world of QiV'ol after purchasing a fleet of Danteri warships through the Orion Syndicate. President Zife prevailed upon Chancellor Martok of the Klingon Empire to send a Klingon Defense Force fleet to escort the USS Enterprise to negotiate with the Tezwans. Zife believed that the Tezwans had not activated the nadion-pulse cannons, and therefore did not inform Starfleet or the Klingons about the weapons. Kinchawn, however, had ordered the cannons activated some time prior, and thus was able to destroy every ship in the fleet except the Enterprise -- but not before some Klingon ships retaliated, decimating the Tezwan environment and economy, killing millions.
It was Zife and Azernal's fear that the subsequent Klingon invasion of Tezwa would lead to the discovery that the Nadion Pulse cannons had been given to the Tezwans by the Federation, and that this would lead the Klingon Empire to declare war on the Federation. Such a war, Azernal theorized, would lead to the conquest of the Federation and Klingon Empire by the Tholian Assembly and Romulan Star Empire, and billions of deaths. Thus, Zife ordered the Enterprise to conquer Tezwa before the Klingons could; Picard succeeded in this mission, and was then placed in charge of the Starfleet occupation of Tezwa, which was made a Federation protectorate. (TNG novel: A Time to Kill)
During the occupation's first month, however, Starfleet and Tezwan authorities suffered through a state of virtual civil war, as the ousted Kinchawn launched numerous attacks in an attempt to drive the UFP and the new Tezwan government off the planet so as to return himself to power. As thousands of Federation citizens began dying, Zife, Azernal, and Quafina once again hired the Orion Syndicate to transport evidence that falsely incriminated the Tholians for providing the pulse cannons to Tezwa, in an attempt to thwart any attempts to link the cannons to the Federation. Their plan did not succeed, however, due in part to the intervention of the rogue agency known as Section 31, and Starfleet uncovered the weapons' true origins. (TNG novel: A Time to Heal)
Secret Coup and AssassinationEdit
In October, confronted with millions of deaths on Zife, Azernal, and Quafina's hands as part of their coverup attempt, a number of Starfleet officers, including Picard, Admiral William Ross, Admiral Alynna Nechayev, Admiral Owen Paris, Admiral Edward Jellico, and Admiral Mamoru Nakamura, along with the Federation Ambassador to Tezwa, Lagan Serra, agreed that something had to be done. While they could not risk a public airing of the information lest war with the Klingons result, each agreed that Zife and his cohorts could not be allowed to remain in office. They agreed to conspire to force Zife out of office at gunpoint, with Ross taking leadership of the conspiracy. The officers' plan was for Zife, Azernal, and Quafina to simply be forced to resign, claiming reasons of economics, and to be taken into protective custody and given new identities afterwards, and Admirals Ross, Nakamura, and Nechayev later confronted the trio in the Monet Room of the Palais.
Azernal, Zife, and Quafina agreed to the resignation terms, and President Zife, relieved to be absolved of the responsibility of the presidency and of his obstruction of justice, delivered the following retirement speech to an unknowing galaxy:
- It is with a sense of both regret and joy that I announce my resignation as President of the United Federation of Planets, as well as the resignation of Koll Azernal, my chief of staff, and Nelino Quafina, my military intelligence secretary. Regret because achieving this office has been the culmination of a lifetime of service to the Federation, and one that has been incredibly rewarding for myself and, I hope, for the Federation, particularly during the dark days of our war against the Dominion.
- Joy because I feel that this resignation is perhaps the greatest of those services that I can now give to the Federation. While my chief of staff and I were able to serve our nation well in war, we were, it seems, less suited for peace. As the war grows more distant in our past, it has become increasingly obvious that Koll and I need to step down for the good of the Federation. The model by which we survived during the war, and even during the first few months afterward, is no longer tenable as we and our allies attempt to bring a new era of peace.
- One of the truisms of sentient life throughout the galaxy is that different leadership is required for different circumstances. On Bolarus, one of our most revered historical figures is a monarch from a time before the planet was united, named Queen Vaq. She led the nation of Alnat to its most prosperous era after winning several consecutive wars. What most forget is that when Alnat became the greatest power on Bolarus, and all her enemies were defeated, Vaq was forced to abdicate, for without an enemy to fight, she led the nation to economic ruin.
- Unlike Vaq, I will not wait for a coup d'etat to remove me from power. I was given a mandate from the people of the Federation -- not once, but twice -- to lead them through uneasy times, to make quick and difficult decisions for the greater good. Now, though, serving that mandate has proven more problematic. Quick and difficult decisions are not what is best for the Federation, nor for our allies. The time has come when I can best serve the people's mandate by stepping down, by allowing the people to choose someone who can lead us in peace as effectively as I was able to in war.
- As per the Federation Charter, an election will be held within the month. The Federation Council will continue to administrate on a pro tem basis until a new president has been elected.
- I thank you all very much for your support, your patience, and your understanding. Good-bye.
It was, however, the last time that anyone would see President Zife alive. Unbeknownst to the other officers, Admiral Ross had been contacted by Section 31, which sought a harsher revenge for Zife's actions on Tezwa. Ross allowed a group of Thirty-One agents to enter the Monet Room. There, following the speech, which an agent of Section 31 named L'Haan had written, Admiral Ross was forced to allow Section 31 to assassinate the Secretary of Military Intelligence, the Chief of Staff, and the President of the United Federation of Planets. (TNG novels: A Time to Heal, A Time for War, A Time for Peace; ST novel: Articles of the Federation)
Following the capture of Kinchawn by Starfleet forces, the Federation occupation of Tezwa ended. Zife's true fate remained unknown to the galaxy at large for the next year, though a select few knew of his assassination. The Orion Syndicate remained under the impression that Admiral Ross had himself personally assassinated Zife; information that, along with the true origins of the nadion pulse cannons, it later shared with investigative reporter and Palais de la Concorde correspondent Ozla Graniv of the Seeker, a Trill newsjournal. Graniv threatened to expose the Zife Administration's role in the Tezwan acquisition of the pulse cannons and Zife's supposed assassination by Admiral Ross unless Zife's successor, Nanietta Bacco of Cestus, forced Ross to have no more role in Starfleet Command or the Federation government. Ross agreed to retire, all the while keeping Section 31's role in the assassination secret, lest they should assassinate Bacco as well.
President Zife's true fate and whereabouts remained unknown to the galaxy at large, in spite of his nonattendance at the funeral of Former President Jaresh-Inyo. Zife was remembered as the president who saved the Federation from the Dominion but who could not lead it in peacetime. (ST novel: Articles of the Federation)
The truth behind Zife's removal and death was finally revealed in 2386, when Section 31's activities were exposed to the public at large, and that prominent Starfleet officers like Picard had been involved. (ST - Section 31 novel: Control) Leonard James Akaar promised to shield Picard from the worst of the fallout, but made it abundantly clear that Picard would never be promoted to Admiral or advance beyond Captain of the Enterprise. (TNG novel: Hearts and Minds)
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|Federation Councillor From Bolarus|
|President of the United Federation of Planets|
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